Medical cannabis companies and users would benefit if Congress rescheduled marijuana as a Schedule II drug, according to a report by the Cato Institute.
The libertarian think tank said reclassifying marijuana at the federal level would cut into black market sales, reduce law enforcement expenditures and free marijuana users from the threat of arrest and monetary penalties.
The federal government defines Schedule I drugs – including marijuana – as having a high risk of abuse and addiction and offering no medical benefits.
The Cato report recommends that Congress should rescheduled marijuana as a Schedule II drug. That would “mean that medical provision in current or future medical marijuana states would not be inconsistent with federal law,” the Cato Institute said.
Allowing physicians to prescribe marijuana would also “reduce existing barriers to research on the possible health benefits of marijuana.”
Still, while calling cannabis a Schedule II drug would help MMJ businesses and users, it wouldn’t eliminate conflict between federal and state governments that have legalized rec, the report said.
Advocates have pushed reclassification for years, saying it would help remove some roadblocks for the industry and broaden legalization efforts.